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Pete Atkin >> Music >> Lady of a Day
(Message started by: Gerry Smith on Today at 12:49)

Title: Lady of a Day
Post by Gerry Smith on Today at 12:49
Hello all. Below is a cut and paste of a discussion of Lady of a Day which started when I quoted part of the lyric as my Facebook status. I have taken up Ian's suggestion and transferred it here. Over to you.

Gerry Smith
says "and so goodbye, my lady of a day...as hour by day by week by month by year
you dim but never wholly disappear, on the curving path away from my delight.."

Stuart Reeves some of my favorite lines - as words, not as a song

Gerry Smith Yes, they are wonderful words. But I know I am in a minority in very much liking to song too.

Rob Spence I'm in the minority with you Gerry. Any reason to quote those lines right now?

Ian Chippett A great song which doesn't quite come off, I feel. The words are too difficult to set without losing the naturalness a really good setting needs. ( We could always transfer this discussion to MV which seems to have fallen asleep.)

Carole Birkill This is one of those songs that if I had to come up with a list of faves, it wouldn't make the cut. But I only have to hear a bit or read a bit to realise how lovely it is. There are so many PA/CJ songs like that for me. That's why it's good to hear Pete play his own setlist - it reminds me of things I might have, wrongly, dismissed.


Gerry Smith ‎@Rob - just a reflection of present circumstances. @Ian - know what you mean, but works for me. @Carole - very true.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Ian Chippett on Today at 18:17
It's the "through screens of memory" setting that I find a bit unnatural though even Schubert or Fauré would have had trouble setting this. Perhaps Pete might like to have another bash at it?   ;-)

Ian C

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by sjm on 28.01.11 at 10:35
It seems to me that the brass that comes in half-way through doesn't really enhance the song - although it does end the album with a bit of a flourish. I agree with Ian that "another bash" might be worthwhile.

This song always reminds me of Rosie Hardman's song Lady For Today - "Let me be your lady for today mister......" (full lyric on her website here http://www.rosiehardman.com/song37.htm).

Steve M.

PS - I hope the Facebook group doesn't replace MV - there may be quite a few MVs who are not on Facebook (and who, like me, have no intention of joining it).


Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Pete Atkin on 28.01.11 at 10:56
It would surely be surprising if there weren't some songs which after all this time I felt I might have done differently, and this may well be one of those.   I haven't checked, but I don't think I've ever done it live, and that can't be because it's technically hard to do, because it isn't.   All of which may be some kind of clue, but then again the songs that draw me into performing them most often aren't necessarily the 'best' ones anyway.  

As far as I can remember - and it's difficult at this distance to be sure - when I was writing it, I was after a feeling of musical space, openness, ambivalence even, and I think - I think - that that may have been the emotional reason behind my decision not to use any chromatic chord changes.  The brass arrangement maybe echoes that in the wide spacing of the instrumental voices.   I think I decided to record it mainly because it seemed a good end-of-side-two song.

But - sorry, Ian - I'm really not inclined to revisit it, to have another go at it, or even to try a slightly different rhythmic approach as I have with some other songs from back then. The truth is, I'm honestly not all that unhappy with how it turned out.  I think I was probably mainly concerned to make sure that the setting wasn't too similar to The Magic Wasn't There, something I could (as I see now) have avoided by treating the opening phrase rhythmically in a significantly different way.  The middle eight I confess I was always quite pleased with: the kind of double-time bit, then the syncopated bit, then the opened-out bit - I probably had Johnny Hodges at the back of my mind.   Clive might say - I don't know - that the screens thing is more of a poem-idea than a song-idea (that's sometimes why some lyrics ended up never being set), but even if it's true it didn't bother me in this case.

Hell, it's just a song.   I'm just glad people are still listening to it.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Jan on 28.01.11 at 14:48

on 01/28/11 at 10:56:38, Pete Atkin wrote :
I haven't checked, but I don't think I've ever done it live.

Not often  :)
8 Dec 2000  Wurzelbush, Brinklow
22 Sept 2001 CoD Hebden Bridge
06 Nov 2004 PoD  Woodstock, Sutton

(Which reminds me that I must send Steve a new copy of the gigs spreadsheet )
Jan

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Simon Reap on 28.01.11 at 14:58

on 01/28/11 at 10:56:38, Pete Atkin wrote :
I'm just glad people are still listening to it.


Listening and enjoying.  I too like the middle eight, particularly the syncopated bit.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by andyw on 28.01.11 at 15:37
[/quote]

Steve M. said:

PS - I hope the Facebook group doesn't replace MV - there may be quite a few MVs who are not on Facebook (and who, like me, have no intention of joining it).

[/quote]

Yes, can I second Steve M's hope, please?

Andy - Impersonating a Luddite (social network sub-group) in Pennine Lancashire

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Rob Spence on 28.01.11 at 16:02
Andy - there was never any intention of replacing MV with the Facebook group. That way madness lies. This is the place for all of us. The FB thing is just a bit of fun.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Gerry Smith on 30.01.11 at 01:05

on 01/28/11 at 16:02:48, Rob Spence wrote :
Andy - there was never any intention of replacing MV with the Facebook group. That way madness lies. This is the place for all of us. The FB thing is just a bit of fun.


...as well as a way of spreading the word.

An early request, please, for Lady of A Day at Eastbourne FC. Shoulder allowing, I hope the keyboartd will be making an appearance too.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Gerry Smith on 30.01.11 at 01:13

on 01/28/11 at 10:56:38, Pete Atkin wrote :
Hell, it's just a song.   I'm just glad people are still listening to it.


And playing it at the piano. Have played it to some of my more discerning (mostly muso) friends and had many reactions of "oooh, wassat?", etc.

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by David Morgan on 30.01.11 at 21:55
Happened to catch this thread while visting MV for first time in a while, & feel I have to add  my defence of this little jewel. I'm with Carole: it probably wouldn't make my top whatever - it's somehow too 'small'. And yet, listening to it again, it's the perfect closer to one of Pete's finest albums. It beautifully captures the regret and resignation following a doomed one-night stand, while the subtext almost shouts "I will survive". It's that mixture of emotions that gets through to me.

The stirring brass arrangement of the final verse, the lift in the melody, and the gracious farewell to the lady are the ways out of the sadness. And I'd count the closing lines among Clive's finest:

'You dim, but never wholly disappear
On the curving path away from my delight'

Indeed - and she shares that quality with many great Atkin/James songs. Forty years on, could it at last be time for a live performance?!

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Pete Atkin on 31.01.11 at 10:46

Quote:
Not often  Smiley
8 Dec 2000  Wurzelbush, Brinklow
22 Sept 2001 CoD Hebden Bridge
06 Nov 2004 PoD  Woodstock, Sutton


Oh dear!   Thanks for that, Jan.  Just goes to show how little my memory can be relied on.  And those are all relatively recent. But maybe longer term memories are stronger.  Maybe.  Sorry, what were we talking about?

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by BogusTrumper on 02.02.11 at 15:45
I will probably get horribly castigated for saying this, but I will say it anyway.  This song contains some of my favorite lyrics, but the way they run in my head does not seem to fit any musical arrangement at all.  It is probably the only song of the canon that I would rather read than listen to.

Sits back and awaits the abuse.....

Title: Re: Lady of a Day
Post by Ian Sorensen on 22.03.11 at 22:13
I'm very much in the "liking this song" camp. I love playing it on the piano and enjoy the weirdness of the chords - it sort of tickles my brain/hands to play it.

My father, a very good musician, hated the tune as he said the chords were all wrong. His ear was offended by the unusual jumps made by Pete's adherence to the non-chromatic chords. I, on the other hand, delighted in the strange sequences and was inspired to write my own tunes using similar chords.

The lyrics are, to me, rather mundane and of much less interest than the tune but I'd still put it in my top ten PA/CJ songs. Perhaps some of that rating comes from the way it perfectly ends  my favourite album. I always give a big, satisfied sigh when it finishes.

Ian



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